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J Med Genet. 2014 May;51(5):327-33. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2013-102151. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Genome-wide association study of smoking behaviours among Bangladeshi adults.

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Department of Health Studies, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



The high prevalence of tobacco use in some developing nations, including Bangladesh, poses several public health challenges for these populations. Smoking behaviour is determined by genetic and environmental factors; however, the genetic determinants of smoking behaviour have not been previously examined in a Bangladeshi or South Asian population. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of tobacco smoking behaviour among a population-based sample of 5354 (2035 ever smokers and 3319 never smokers) men and women in Bangladesh.


Genome-wide association analyses were conducted for smoking initiation (ever vs never smokers), smoking quantity (cigarettes per day), age of smoking initiation, and smoking cessation (former vs current smokers). Sex-stratified associations were performed for smoking initiation.


We observed associations for smoking initiation in the SLC39A11 region at 17q21.31 (rs2567519, p=1.33×10⁻⁷) among men and in the SLCO3A1 region at 15q26 (rs12912184, p=9.32×10⁻⁸) among women.


These findings suggest possible underlying mechanisms related to solute carrier transporter genes, which transport neurotransmitters, nutrients, heavy metals and other substrates into cells, for smoking initiation in a South Asian population in a sex-specific pattern. Genetic markers could have potential translational implications for the prevention or treatment of tobacco use and addiction in South Asian populations and warrant further exploration.

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